The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – Series C – Luke 12:22-40
Anxiety is a problem of faith. At its very core is the issue of doubt, disbelief and distrust. Whether it’s the anxiety over our work, in our marriages and families, or the affairs of the world around us, our anxieties always express themselves as doubts directed toward ourselves and our neighbor.
In sin, we are driven to fix these doubts and anxieties by searching inside ourselves for the answer, whether that’s having more faith in our abilities or trust in our neighbors, we seek an internal answer for what we think is only an internal problem.
In the Gospel reading from Luke 12, Jesus shows us through the birds of the air and the lilies of the field that our anxieties are not simply a problem of doubting ourselves or others, but ultimately, and always disbelieving and doubting God Himself.
For it is God who has promised, and so works to clothe us, feed us, and forgive us. We did not make that promise, and neither did our neighbor; it was God the Father, Creator of the heavens and the earth, God the Son, Redeemer of the World, and God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the Church who promised and so worked then and now and to eternity to give us all things. Therefore, all anxiety is a matter simply of not trusting God IN His Word.
As we are unable to fix this problem of faith (and rather the lack of faith) IN ourselves, so the Lord sends us His Word. True Faith, the gift of God, draws the Christian out of Himself and his own reason and wisdom and instead onto the Word of Christ. As our hearts remain anxious, unstable and fearful, so it is the “Father’s good pleasure to give [us] the kingdom.” Where we are anxious, He provides the unchanging, stable, unshaken comfort and faith of His Word, Water, Body and Blood.
The Small Catechism: The First Article
I believe in God, the Father Almighty maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean?
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.
He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.
He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.
The Large Catechism: Baptism
“To be baptized in God’s name is to be baptized not by human beings but by God himself. Although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God’s own act. … But here the devil sets to work to blind us with false appearances and to lead us away from God’s work to our own. But the Scriptures teach that if we piled together all the works of all the monks in a heap, no matter how precious and dazzling they might appear, they would still not be as noble and good as if God were to pick up a straw. Why? Because the person performing the act is nobler and better. Here one must evaluate not the person according to the works, but the works according to the person, from whom they must derive their worth. But mad reason rushes forth and, because baptism is not dazzling like the works that we do, we regard it as worthless.”
“Therefore, we constantly teach that we should see the sacraments and all external things ordained and instituted by God not according to the crude, external mask (as we see the shell of a nut) but as that in which God’s Word is enclosed.”